There are a number of wild powers on display in The Suicide Squad, from Ratcatcher 2’s ability to summon rodents, to Polka-Dot Man’s polka dots, but strangely enough one of the most complex character designs in the film is Bloodsport’s – the anti-hero played by Idris Elba. He doesn’t have any supernatural gifts, but what he does possess is highly advanced weaponry that he constructs on the fly with various pieces he stores all over his costume. It’s ultimately a super cool and clever idea brought to life on the big screen, but as I recently learned from writer/director James Gunn, it was a serious headache to actualize behind the scenes.
Late last month I had the wonderful opportunity to interview the filmmaker during the virtual press day for The Suicide Squad, and I specifically asked about the effort that was required to make Bloodshot’s complicated weaponry work. James Gunn explained that it was anything but easy, partially because of how late in pre-production the character was finalized as part of the script, but also because of the level of coordination the idea required. Said Gunn,
It was really, really hard because, also, I kept changing who Idris [Elba] was; I wrote the role for Idris, and he changed a number of times. And so by the time we got to Bloodsport we were a couple of months out, and it was an incredibly difficult balancing act between me – in terms of the writing of figuring out what weapons are used, when and how, and what part of his body the shots are going to be on – and then Judianna Makovsky, who had to make the costume, and Drew [Petrotta] who had to make the props.
As depicted in The Suicide Squad, Bloodsport has a special weapon for every occasion, and each time he needs to put one together he deftly and quickly is able to collect the necessary components from various places on his body. It’s awesome, and it’s even more amazing when you recognize that his moves aren’t just random and improvised. James Gunn is not a filmmaker who takes shortcuts, and in the design of the character he and his department heads specifically mapped out how everything world work.
Continuing, the writer/director explained that he would get together with Judianna Makovsky and Andrew Petrotta regularly during production and would ensure that everything that was being done with Bloodsport tracked and functioned at least somewhat realistically. Gunn explained,
The three of us would have to get together every two days and sort of say, 'Oh, no, that doesn't work there because we're actually shooting from the other side of the screen at that time, so we got to move that over there. But, oh, if we moved that there, then that side is going to be too bulky because that's where the flamethrower is! So you've got to move the flamethrower over there.' It was complicated! And then to get into each of the little pieces, I didn't want them to be just these magic balls that change. I wanted them to actually be able to physically transform. And so that became very, very difficult.
The great news? The juice was totally worth the squeeze. The Suicide Squad features all varieties of crazy characters, and though Bloodsport is more normal than most, he is still a fantastic standout, and the design is a big part of the reason why.
The new DC blockbuster – which features Idris Elba alongside Margot Robbie, John Cena, Viola Davis, Michael Rooker, Jai Courtney, Joel Kinnaman, David Dastmalchian, Alice Braga, Pete Davidson, and many more – arrives in theaters on Friday August 6, and for the first 31 days of its release it will also be available to stream on HBO Max. Check out The Suicide Squad when you can, and then be sure to head back here to CinemaBlend for more from my interviews with James Gunn and the cast, as well as a whole lot of analysis.